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: The proportion of kids attending the emergency room for psychological causes has elevated in the course of the pandemic

Many Americans stayed away from hospitals at the start of the pandemic for fear of contracting the coronavirus.

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Amid shelters and school closings to curb the spread of COVID-19, the percentage of mental health-related child emergency admissions has increased significantly during the pandemic, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Control and Prevention said of diseases.

From mid-March to October, the percentage of visits to the emergency room related to mental health in children ages 5-11 increased by approximately 24% compared to the same period in the previous year, and in children ages 12 it increased by 31% to 17.

“Many mental disorders begin in childhood, and mental health problems in these age groups can be exacerbated by pandemic-related stress and abrupt disturbances in daily life related to mitigation efforts, including fear of illness, social isolation, and disconnected schooling will. The authors wrote.

The results of the analysis, they added, "show the need for continued mental health care for children during the pandemic and underscore the importance of developing mental health services," such as: B. Telemedicine and Mental Health Apps.

COVID-19 restrictions have also restricted or altered children's access to mental health services normally available to them through schools and other community facilities, the report said, and could lead to greater reliance on emergency services, “both for routine as well as for crisis treatment. "

The CDC analyzed hospital data in 47 states, accounting for about 73% of emergency room visits in the United States. Potential limitations of the study included that the National Syndromic Surveillance Program emergency data subject of the analysis are not nationally representative and may not be available produced broadly generalizable findings; Usable data on race and ethnicity were also not available.

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Child mental health professionals say parents should monitor their children for significant changes in behavior, contact a health care provider if a change in the child's behavior persists and affects their functioning, and avoid diagnosing child mental health problems on their own.

The increased proportion of child mental health emergencies in the early months of the pandemic could be increased due to the significant decline in total emergency rooms during that time, the report said. Many Americans stayed away from hospitals for fear of contracting the coronavirus.

While the total number of emergency rooms related to children's mental health declined during the pandemic, the proportion of those visits increased, the report said – a context that suggests that there are enough mental health concerns for children during a given time for visits (emergency rooms) justified as non-emergent ED visits were discouraged. "

Previous research has highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of children and parents. For example, a study published in the journal Pediatrics analyzed surveys of hourly service workers with a young child from February to April and found that “in families facing several difficulties in connection with the (COVID-19) crisis, both parents and Parents The mental health of the children is worse. "

Another study published in the same journal, based on a June survey of parents with children under 18, found that “27% of parents reported deterioration in mental health for themselves and 14% reported deterioration in behavioral health for their children " since March.

Child mental health professionals say parents should monitor their children for significant changes in behavior, contact a health care provider if a change in the child's behavior persists and affects their functioning, and avoid diagnosing child mental health problems on their own.

"We should expect some children to likely have some changes in their behavior and mood," clinical psychologist Garica Sanford, the instructor at the Momentous Institute nonprofit in Dallas, Texas, previously told MarketWatch. "But we really want to look at the severity, frequency, and duration of changes."

For more information on how to monitor your child's mental health during COVID-19 and get help when needed, see the MarketWatch Guide here.

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